Face it—social networking is not a new concept; it’s ancient. Human beings are social creatures and in-person contact cannot be replaced in its entirety by online social networking. I’ve thought about this before, and today I read an article in Fast Company on the topic. Skype is certainly closer to in-person networking than any of the three big social media platforms—Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn—yet in-person networking has many benefits. Here are three:

First, you can go beyond the 7% limitation point of what is typically ascribed to verbal communication cues since you can see the person (body language and eye contact) and hear their voice.

Second, since there are better and greater social cues, there is more potential for trust and relationship connection, which leads to more integrity, sharing of ideas, and establishing the “likeability” factor, as written of by Tim Sanders.

Third, it’s just plain more fun.

All three of these are likely to increase the viability, productivity, and bottom-line financials of your business. It’s also good for your health, since human contact and relationship are associated with happiness and well-being. With all of these benefits, why is networking dreaded by many and why does it create such havoc in some people’s heads?

The inner critic goes crazy if you listen to the stories of some people in business; stories such as getting knots in their stomach at the thought of going to networking events or not even being able to get out of their car to go inside to the meeting. Why is this? I can speak from personal experience. While I tended in past years to push on and go to the meetings, it was often a burden, and totally and unnecessarily so.

As a child, I was very social and a natural leader. Yet, due to not understanding how my mind worked at all in those days, as well as social conditioning, I tended to drift toward competition and lack consciousness as I grew older. It was, and is, all a matter of perception. As a culture, as we “grow up” we tend toward connecting who we are with what we do. We buy into the lie of zero-sum gain and survival of the fittest.

We tend to believe that humility equals self-deprecation and, somehow, that beating ourselves up is noble. We reject ourselves and then unwittingly often project that self-loathing onto other people because our psyches can’t deal with the storyline about our lives that we’ve ignorantly created. Yes, you read that correctly: created. Science shows there is no totally objective reality.

We are assigning meaning to our lives constantly. And generally, if the theme is based in fear, the story is not one that encourages the development of our true, greater potential. This often shows up within the context of our relationships, of course. If we don’t have healthy self-acceptance and confidence, it impacts our business and personal life in a very big way—whether or not we enjoy networking.

As I have “retrained my brain” and “made friends” with feelings, I have been able to create new, more empowering storylines about what I can be, do, and have. The answer to many of humanity’s challenges today in the workplace and in the world at large is learning how to become more self-aware and self-accepting. We can only treat others as we really, truly, and subconsciously treat ourselves.

Some people’s negative self-talk is outright cruel. People would not tolerate being spoken to by others the way they speak to themselves in their own minds. It’s time to stop that if you want to thrive in business. Stop hiding out behind the computer screen and mix it up. Connect with others, and come from a place in which you are more than enough. We all have a unique gift or talent to contribute to our times.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com